Is Concept of Househusband in Sync with Gender Equality?


Appleyard, Diana (2007). “Househusband backlash as high-flying wives ditch men they wanted to stay at home”. Mail Online. 

Richard, a dutiful househusband, felt cheated when his wife took away kids he had looked after since they were infants. His wife who was the primary wage earner dumped him. Women, especially housewives, have been experiencing the same traumatizing emotions since ages. When men are in command, they ignore her sentiments…

Is it not an eye-opener?

If we read between the lines of Richard’s story, one thing is sure that role changing will not induce gender equality. A balance is required.

Traditionally, a woman depends on her man. However, of late, a few men are depending on women. Dependence in both the cases is not a good proposition.

In fact, primary focus of the current gender equality schemes is to make women self-reliant. Neither housewives nor househusbands are self-reliant.

Gender equality is about independence and self-reliance but not about new kind of dependence. But, at the same time, househusband is not just a female fantasy. It could be a dream of men, especially a few who are trying to live like househusbands across different parts of the world. Reasons to become househusband may vary from person to person. What is about their right to have choices? Gender equality should take into this important aspect.

How many of us will accept househusbands especially inIndiawhere citizens are conditioned to visualize men as bread earners?

Househusbands may be a rare breed inIndia. They live in isolation unaware of like-minded men who may be living in some other corner of the country. Their interaction is limited to their immediate family. They are taunted as losers. Men who do not earn are considered weak and small. They are not masculine. They lack self-esteem. But, is it true? Does managing a home make someone weak? It doesn’t. But, social and mental conditioning is so profound that erasing it during a short period seems impossible. Changes, irrespective of their nature and scope, are always very consuming.

I would not encourage concept of househusband, because househusbands will not be self-reliant. And, self-reliance is the pivot of gender equality. We are struggling hard to make one section of the society self-reliant. Moreover, if existing self-reliant section of the society looses this valuable trait, we will be again back to square one. Only gender of person in command (or traumatizing agent) will change. Non-self-reliant people will never have choices.

Delegation is better than centralization. Both should earn and share the household chores and family duties. If concept of househusband becomes a norm and social stigma attached to it is erased, househusbands will be considered as burden like their female counterparts.

Gender equality is not about shoving men to those scary abysmal recesses from where we are trying to rescue women. Liberating women does not mean that rob men of their liberty and freedom. Trim down extra liberty given to men, but do not rob them of it.

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